Plan to plant bulbs in autumn for a glorious display of wonderful flowers. Blooms emerge at various times from early winter, beginning with daffodils and jonquils, followed by tulips and freesias and finishing on a high with bluebells. Plant a variety of different bulbs so you can delight in the floral show for longer. Here are 9 of our favourites.
Sparaxis (Sparaxis tricolor): This happy bloomer, with striking tri-coloured flowers in pink, purple, yellow, red, orange and white, pops up from spring and lasts for weeks. Grow in pots or spread throughout the garden, along borders, rockeries or mass planted in beds. Position in full sun and liquid feed weekly when flowering.
Ranunculus (Ranunculus asiaticus): One of the best cut flowers, with multi-petalled blooms in a variety of colours including white, red, pink, yellow and orange. It looks fabulous planted as a clumped mix in pots or flowerbeds. They grow 40–60cm tall, but dwarf specimens only reach 20cm. Plant in full sun and feed regularly during the growing season.
English bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta): Delicate blue-purple blooms (you can also find varieties in pink or white) sit atop the ends of stems. The reflexed petals give them a hanging lampshade-like appearance, adding to their engaging demeanour. Plant masses in multiple pots for a dramatic effect or allow them to naturalise under a tree. Position in filtered light and feed regularly with a liquid fertiliser once the leaves appear.
Snowflake (Leocojum vernum): Clusters of dainty white blooms appear from late winter. The flowers hang like miniature petticoats, allowing them to dance and sway with the slightest breeze. It grows only 35cm tall and is ideal for pots or planted as drifts under a tree. Grows well in most climates in full sun or part shade. Feed weekly with a liquid fertiliser once foliage appears.
Daffodils (Narcissus spp.): The classic spring bulb, daffodils mark the incoming sunny seasons with their golden yellow petticoat-like blooms in single or bi-coloured forms. Plant in pots or mass plant them under a deciduous tree.
Jonquils (Narcissus hybrids): A close relative of daffodils, jonquils also flower early in the season and are available in miniature, single and double forms. Their beautiful fragrance can be overwhelming for some, but a delight for most.
Tulips (Tulipa spp.): With more than 3000 different varieties of tulips available, in varying flower colours and shapes, there is bound to be a tulip you will love. They look spectacular when planted in drifts or crowded in large pots.
Hyacinths (Hyacinth orientalis): Short spires of lilac, purple, pink, blue, and white flowers look fab planted en masse in pots and garden beds. Their perfume is intoxicating, so cut blooms and fill your home with their delicious scent.
If you want to pop your bulbs in a pot, make sure you pick one to suit with our guide to choosing the right plant pot
Photo credit: Gap Photos/Robert Mabic, Getty Images, Alamy Stock Photo
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